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Everything posted by ilovetexas

  1. Excuse the VERY non-technical answer but I just got off Regal and the staff captain said while they’re in wet dock this week they’re having a new “tower” installed that does something to improve the environmental impact of fuel burning. They already have one and now they’ll have two. I’m sure they are doing other stuff as well but that’s what he mentioned at one of the talks on the ship.
  2. You’re being argumentative for no apparent reason and you’ve completely mis-represented everything I wrote. Have a nice day.
  3. 98% of what's on these boards is an opinion, yours included. Of course one should buy travel insurance. Always. But when vacations start to go sideways, it's always good to have a TA to make phone calls, help move reservations, etc. as opposed to having to do it yourself. Your insurance carrier isn't going to help get you on another flight after you missed yours, try to re-book you on another island when you decide the DR isn't safe, call your All Inclusive resort when you paid for a full ocean view and they stuck you in a city view, rearrange your flights when your ship loses propulsion power (or there is a flood at your home port) and you can't make your flight home, etc. TAs provide a wealth of experience, information and assistance and if you opt not to use one, that's your choice. That's not hyperbole, that's the life of a travel agent. If you've had luck with booking on your own then transferring to a big box stores for the discount, and no bad experiences, that's great. If you ever choose to travel with one of the suppliers who doesn't do business with those stores, I hope you choose to use an independent travel agent and have an excellent experience there as well.
  4. I can’t speak for all travel agents but can certainly speak for myself. I’ve been on close to 30 cruises and most certainly know the difference between ships, ports, cabins, etc. In response to the original question about using a TA, it depends on what type of traveler you are. TAs are very helpful putting together multiple types of travel experiences - most people don’t want to spend HOURS/DAYS researching and building their trips and then worrying if they put all the pieces together correctly, got the correct visas, have all their transfers, etc. They’re also an excellent resource if something should go wrong, as was previously mentioned in this thread. If, however, you’re looking for a dirt cheap trip and hoping someone will give you a bunch of OBC/discounts, a TA will most likely only do that if you’re a close friend or they’re hoping for future, more lucrative, business from you. As for the big box stores extreme rebating, the travel suppliers should be ashamed of themselves for doing business with them. Rebating is simply discounting and that’s against most suppliers policies. While I understand the advantage from a monetary standpoint, I wouldn’t want to have to rely on some online agent at the big box store if I got hurt in a foreign country, missed a flight, or had a travel supplier go bankrupt mid-trip and leave me stranded. That’s not worth a $300 in-club gift card to me. Plus, travel agents are small businesses (even the ones that work for large agencies are typically independent contractors) and I like to support small business every chance I get.
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